By Lisa Huddleston
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4).
Maybe this message would have been more powerful if we hadn’t received the news that we were praying for. But the pathology report was just what we’d hoped: Benign! No cancer! Yes! And I rushed to share it with all the social media power at my finger tips. Word spread quickly and messages came back: “PTL! Hallelujah! God is good!” Oh, yes, He is. And I rejoiced along with my friends, echoing their words of praise and encouragement. God IS good!
But at the same time, my logical and sometimes detached brain couldn’t stop from pondering the idea that even if the report had not given us the answer that we’d hoped for that God would still be good. Wow. But it’s true. Even when our house is the one the tornado hits. Or our car is on the bridge when it falls. Or when we are the ones that lightning strikes. Or, God forbid, when our child is the one with cancer. Even then. Oh God, even then, You are still good.
Do I really believe that? Today it is easy to say, “Yes!” I am still basking in the afterglow of that good report. All is right with my world. My daughter is healthy. But do I really believe it?
I can’t honestly answer without facing and passing the test. But I can point to those who have. Friends who testify that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to them. Others who have experienced the loss of jobs or homes and shared the deepening of their faith and their testimonies to God’s provision in their lives. They tell me that they know, and I am glad to rejoice vicariously with them in that truth. Even the Apostle Paul, who penned these words to the Philippians, stands as an example to me of one who faced many trials yet could still rejoice in the knowledge of God’s eternal goodness. And even write the words “Rejoice always” from the dark depths of a Roman prison.
I know my time will come. It does for everyone after all. One day I will receive the bad report or face a loss that is irreparable. One day my test will come. And I pray that when it does I will be found faithful—secure in the knowledge of God’s goodness even when everything around me seems bad. I pray that even then I will be able to shout with absolute assurance, “GOD IS GOOD!”
But until that day, in the weak yet growing faith of my inexperience, I rejoice. In the passing over of disaster. In the restoration of my daughter’s future. In the good news that all is well. May I be ready to rejoice in the days it is not.
Hallelujah! Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say: Rejoice!